October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same. Sure, we have made a lot of progress but still have a long way to go! And when I saw that Southcoast Radiology and Imaging Services, part of Southcoast Health, was offering free mammograms for uninsured individuals during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, I wanted to share the good news! Screenings will be offered at all 12 Southcoast Breast Imaging Centers across the region.

Statistics show that one in eight women over the age of 40 will develop breast cancer. Since patients are less likely to experience symptoms during the early stage of breast cancer, when tumors are small and most treatable, early detection and regular screenings are a necessity to reduce advanced stage diagnosis and often improve treatment outcome. The American Cancer Society notes that it is very important for women to follow the recommended screening guidelines for detecting breast cancer at an early stage, before symptoms develop, and recommend that women receive a regular, annual mammogram beginning at age 40.

Data also shows that individuals without health insurance are less likely to have regular breast cancer screenings, significantly reducing their changes of early detection. That is why Southcoast Health is offering this important screening, at no cost, to any uninsured individual during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I applaud Southcoast Health for embracing this issue in such a humanitarian and exemplary way!

Appointments are required. To schedule a free mammogram during the month of October call central scheduling at 800-276-0103. Massachusetts residents will also have the opportunity to speak with Patient Financial Services for guidance on how to apply for health insurance. This is a terrific way to launch such an important month of Breast Cancer Awareness.